“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – Via George Bernard Shaw; an excerpt from the book ‘ME: Stories of my Life by Katherine Hepburn.’
Th past couple of weeks has seen me back in the thick of it. By back in the thick of it, I mean everything that I’ve seen, watched, and listened to via “Pagandom” on the Internet the past three months.
Now I’m going to be honest – I absolutely LOVE playing devil’s advocate…well, to a point, that is. I do NOT, however, deny the fact that playing devil’s advocate means I’m not necessarily playing fair. But anymore – who really plays fair?
Most certainly NOT some of the BNP’s (Big-Name Pagans) of Pagandom. But before I go on, let me clarify…what’s Pagandom?
Pagandom is my intimate little name for the on-line universe and all of its little players – those who consider themselves authorities of their chosen path in regards to their paganism / hard or soft and/or non-polytheists / kemeticism / wiccanism / heathenism / druidism / etcetcetc. Let’s not forget those who consider themselves a valid source of information – and lastly, those who consider themselves the authority on who isn’t or SHOULD NOT BE considered an authority on whatever path or practice they write about in Pagandom.
Ahhhhh, Pagandom. A place that I consider the fount of a wealth of information that many of us out here in the middle of nowhere cannot attain; yet also a very dangerous place where those who are lacking common sense need not apply. Pagandom has brought us all many juicy topics this past couple of months. Let’s go down some of my faves on the list, shall we?:
-Superheroes as Gods?
-Drugs & Drink vs. Sober Practice
-Hard vs. Soft Polytheists
As one of my favorite movie characters would say, ‘By the Beard of Zeus!’
I’m a big believer in the simple philosophy of “sharing is caring.” Even over-sharing, at times. So I’m going to do a little bit of both, because if I don’t do anything right in this life, I will be late to the party, every single time.
Superheroes vs. Gods: I’m going to put it like this, in my humble opinion…NO. The only reason I say that is because I’ve been an AVID Marvel/XMEN follower since I was 15yrs old. And while some of my peeps may have been worshiped as gods (ie. Storm, Apocalypse) or may have WORSHIPPED the gods (ie. Forge) that doesn’t mean that they ARE actual gods or goddesses, nor does it mean that they represent them. My humble opinion; my column, my right.
Christian Pagans: ***sighs heavily*** I have to refer back to a short but sweet personal occurrence that happened to me just a bit ago. A couple of months ago, I opened my door to three very innocent Mormom girls who I knew lived across the street from my mother in a rented dormitory/home, of sorts. These gals were perfectly innocent, homegrown ‘sponges’ – Wide Open to any option out there for them. I thought to myself…’these big-name churches’ were insanely brilliant; capturing young impressionable people like this. But on the opposite end, as I stood in my doorway receiving their dog & pony show, I realized that maybe they weren’t so brilliant. These kids didn’t even seem to know anything about what they were repeating; they were just happy to be a part of something. And that’s just sad. So of course I took it upon myself to politely educate them in what I knew of reality, via my studies as a Kemetic. Reason being, what was missing from what these young girls were trying to push upon me was passion – plain and simple. What the Mormon church had ‘fugged’ up on, was instilling passion for their path, in my humble opinion. They instead instilled a passion for the business of recruiting new followers instead of a passion for one’s chosen religious path.
-Athiest Pagans: PAGAN-X Says: “I don’t believe in any gods or goddesses; I don’t believe in God, period. But…I’m a Pagan.” I say Yes, but also no. This is a hard one. One example could be that Paganism can also be defined in it’s most base state as a worship of the earth’s bounty that is around us. And while some may beg to argue that certain elemental aspects of the earth are the work of gods/goddesses themselves – their way of getting messages or signs to those of us who worship a particular god/associated element. But those who may consider themselves ‘Athiest Pagans’ probably have a much simpler explanation – that gods/goddesses are man-made representations for things that happen in nature and/or the basic aspects of earth/air/fire/water. Who’s to say which side is right or wrong; in my humble opinion, both sides are in the right place.
-Drugs & Drink vs. Sober Practice: I could again go either way, where all of this is concerned. When it’s all said and done, I always come back to the ‘beginning of my bloodlines.’ My Native American ancestors used marijuana, mushrooms and other assorted hallucinogenics to let down walls that a human being’s psyche wouldn’t normally try to breach. The European ties I have via my maternal ancestors may have found wine or other types of drink a way to sanctify their rituals – be they Christian or otherwise, prior to beginning whatever religious ceremony they found a part of their personal mythos. And the African side? While I’m still searching for names and places via my own DNA, I can say that knowing what I know via my Southern ancestors who practiced Vodou – drugs and drink did absolutely play a part in the start of communion with certain gods/goddesses. All in all, I’m not an advocate for the use of of drink and drugs, but I am a realist. Sometimes it may take that one extra little – be it an offering of one or the other to your gods or a swig for yourself – to lay low the doors barring us from each others’ sides of reality.
-Hard vs. Soft and/or Non-Polytheists: BOO & HISS. Again and as always, I’m fashionably late to the party – at least in my own mind, anyways. There has been extensive debate, regarding those that believe in the gods’ existence (Hard Polytheists) and those that do not/believe otherwise (Soft Polytheists). Some of the biggest BNPs (big-name Pagans), down to the smallest of the blogosphere (ie. me) got involved in this debacle. I’m not going to lie, it hurts me physically to try and pretend I’m ok with people not identifying with a god(s) or goddess(es) in some way-shape-or form. It really does. When I ‘heard the call’ for the first time (as I like to call it), SHE was the one who called me. Aset wanted me to know how much strength and power I carried within myself – that I hadn’t went soft, that I made the right choices towards my life as it was at the time. She was tired of hearing me whine. She was tired of me continuously second-guessing myself. She wanted me to be free from all that, to do what it was she chose me to do – write. These past few months, she’s been so silent I lost the power to write. I don’t blame her for that; I blame myself for losing my way and becoming distracted once more from the path she had set me down. I blame myself for clouding myself to the point of not hearing her. She was always there – but why would she waste her time with someone who couldn’t bother to give her the daily recognition she deserved? It’s the reason why I find Soft and/or Non-Polytheists suspect – it sounds a lot like Agnostic and/or basic Spiritualism to me. Maybe I’m wrong for that. I probably am actually, but it is what it is. If you know it’s there, you can’t deny it’s voice when it calls to you. For me, that realization is the first spark into those mysteries and finding out which name will call yours!
In the scheme of things, to each their own when it really comes down to the nitty gritty. I feel that sometimes we spend so much time (especially on-line) speaking about why someone is wrong about their point-of-view that we completely miss the point of an on-line community…to LEARN from each other. Different points-of-view only open up new avenues of questioning, study, and communion with the gods/goddesses or other ‘wells of knowledge’ available in our community. Instead of arguing, I hope that we continue to agree to disagree with each other – in the most respectful and friendly way possible. I may be irrevocably naïve, to think that this is even a possibility – but it’s something I strive for, in order to add to what’s most important as I deepen my bond to my personal pantheon – more knowledge, philosophy and study in the pursuit to become unified with the gods.
Until we meet again…